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116                                        FLORA   TNDICA.
whole Western (Madras) Peninsula, and the Gangetic plain
to the base of the Himalaya. 2. The Himalaya, a moun-
tain chain which rises abruptly from the Gangetic plain, and
is connected with a still loftier mountain mass (of Tibet) to
the north, and beyond India. 3. Eastern India (India ultra
Gangcm), including the kingdom of Ava and the Eastern or
Malayan Peninsula. 4. Afghanistan.
The direction of the great mountain barrier of India on the
north is not parallel to the Equator, the western extremity
being the most northern. Its height is immense, being no-
where below 15,000 feet, usually exceeding 17,000-18,000,
and rising in isolated peaks, or groxips of peaks, to from
20,000-28,000. The Afghan mountains form a meridional
ehain from the western extremity of the above, descending
parallel to the Indus, with a gradually decreasing elevation,
from above 15,000 feet, to the level of the sea, at the Arabian
Gulf. The Ava and Malayan mountains form a chain parallel
to these, which is given off from the snow-clad mountains of
T5ęst Tibet, and, though rapidly diminishing, in elevation, is
Continued uninterruptedly almost to the Equator.
In Europe, Hbidostan is generally understood to comprise
the whole continent of India, from the base of the Himalaya
to Cape Comorin; but in India the term is frequently re-
stricted to the provinces north of the Nerbada, whilst all
those to the southward of that river are called the Dekhan, or
southern provinces. In this work, however, \ve shall give to
th'e term Iliudostan its most extended sense, and restrict that
of Dckhau to the elevated country north of Mysore.
A complicated system of nuwntum-ehainw gives to Hiudo-
atan its peculiar configuration; these, which may be traced by
following on a map the courses of the rivers of which they
form the watershed*, arc three in number, and IxJitr no ob~
vioiift relation to one another. They are,óL The Peninsu-
lar chain (also called Ghats and Western (3hats) extending
from Onpe Comorm to the Tapti river. 2. The ViwUua
chain which crosses the centre of Iliwlostan from the (Julf